Our outdoor summer social skills program that is offered is a unique outdoor social skills training program for elementary school-age children. With its major focus on team building and cooperation training, this group can benefit already existing Stepping Stones group members or children who have never been involved in a social skills training group before. The games and exercises we play foster working together to achieve common goals. The competitive nature of sports is minimized in favor of activities that encourage collaboration and compromise.
We are fortunate that we are able to meet with our children outdoors for our summer social skills program. This allows us to use a specialized form of therapy called kinetic psychotherapy (KPT). With KPT, we play what may appear to be ordinary children’s games such as Freeze Tag or Capture the Flag. These games allow us to observe and work with the children in a natural social environment where typical interactions occur.
During our summer social skills program, group huddles take some getting used to by the children who, at the beginning, resent the interruption. But once the children catch on, they seem to find it extremely useful in helping them take a look at themselves, both as a group and individually.
This “here and now” approach views interaction through a magnifying glass rather than looking at behavior after-the-fact when interventions lose their immediacy. This phenomenon of working “in the moment” is one of the great benefits of group work in general. In KPT, the addition of movement, structure, and game rules offer a rich environment for social learning and exploration to take place.
KPT is very effective in helping children
- verbalize feelings rather that act them out;
- find alternative coping strategies to deal with stressful situations;
- take responsibility for actions;
- walk in another person’s shoes;
- improve self-esteem;
- encourage self-awareness in group members.
These groups meet once a week in the evenings for six weeks.